National Park Service

State of the Park Reports

State of the Park Report for Cabrillo National Monument

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Old Point Loma Lighthouse
Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument

This State of the Park report for Cabrillo National Monument is the second to be produced by the National Park Service. Its purpose is to assess the overall condition of the park's priority resources and values, to communicate complex park condition information to visitors and the American public in a clear and simple way, and to inform visitors and other stakeholders about stewardship actions being taken by park staff to maintain or improve the condition of priority park resources for future generations. The State of the Park report uses a standardized approach to focus attention on the priority resources and values of the park based on the park's purpose and significance, as described in the park's Foundation Document or General Management Plan. The report:

  • Provides to visitors and the American public a snapshot of the status and trend in the condition of a park's priority resources and values.
  • Summarizes and communicates complex scientific, scholarly, and park operations factual information and expert opinion using non-technical language and a visual format.
  • Highlights park stewardship activities and accomplishments to maintain or improve the state of the park.
  • Identifies key issues and challenges facing the park to inform park management planning.

The process of identifying priority park resources by park staff and partners, tracking their condition, organizing and synthesizing data and information, and communicating the results will be closely coordinated with the park planning process, including natural and cultural resource condition assessments and Resource Stewardship Strategy development. The term "priority resources" is used to identify the fundamental and other important resources and values for the park, based on a park's purpose and significance within the National Park System, as documented in the park's foundation document and other planning documents. This report summarizes and communicates the overall condition of priority park resources and values based on the available scientific and scholarly information and expert opinion, irrespective of the ability of the park superintendent or the National Park Service to influence it.

Cabrillo National Monument commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's voyage of exploration and its significance, and protects, preserves, and manages the cultural and natural resources and associated values in a manner that leaves them unimpaired while providing a high quality educational and recreational experience for all visitors. The purposes of Cabrillo National Monument are:

  • To commemorate the 1542 voyage of exploration and accomplishments of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and communicate this story and its significance to visitors and local residents.
  • To preserve, restore, protect, interpret and enhance the significant cultural and natural resources within and adjacent to the park.
  • To provide visitors the opportunity to enjoy one of the great harbor views of the world and to experience and understand the relationship humans have with their land and sea environment.

Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula within the Point Loma Ecological Conservation Area (PLECA MOU). The monument is an effective island of rare habitats that is isolated from other natural lands by the ocean, San Diego Bay, and urbanization. The significance of the park is enhanced by the presence of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, one of the first of eight lighthouses built along the West coast by the U.S. Government in the 1850s. There are also 19 significant historical structures of the U.S. Army's coastal defense system at Fort Rosecrans, which protected the aircraft industry and naval port of San Diego during World War II. Cabrillo offers one of the best land-based sites from which to watch the annual migration of Pacific gray whales; one of the few protected and accessible intertidal communities on the Southern California mainland; and a representative example of the rapidly disappearing, and increasingly important, coastal sage scrub ecosystem. The park further provides visitors from around the world with the opportunity to enjoy a world-class view of natural and cultural resources in juxtaposition. Military operations, shipping, the city and harbor of San Diego, coastal landforms rich in geologic history, wildlife, Mexico and the Pacific Ocean all illustrate the relationship humans have with their environment.

Map of Cabrillo National Monument
Map of the Cabrillo National Monument
Location of Cabrillo National Monument in southern California
Location of Cabrillo National Monument in southern California


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